Sept 15 – 21

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This week’s headline story: New iPhones are Here!

iphone-5sThe tech news that captured the most attention this week was Apples release of the iPhone 5c and 5s. Sales of the new iPhones are expected to surpass 5 million in their first week, putting the new models equal to releases of previous iPhones. The 5c is a lower priced plastic iPhone that comes in a rainbow of colors. The iPhone 5s is more powerful with a new fingerprint scanning feature that unlocks the phone. The phones come with the new iOS 7 which was also released as an upgrade for prevoius versions of the iPhone and iPad. Millions of iPhone and iPad users hammered the Apple website Thursday to download the new OS. iOS7 is a significant departure from previous versions of iOS with a new look and feel, and new features that include

  • a Control Center for quick access to common functions
  • a Notification Center for easy access to incoming communications, calander appointments, and to-do items
  • streamlined multitasking
  • improved camera features
  • and Airdrop to share photos, videos, contacts and other data with other iPhone users.

iOS 7 has quickly risen to be the top mobile operating system in use today.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • Vitor Pamplona is about to shake up the eye-care industry. He’s invented a device called the Netra-G, that costs a few dollars to make, and performs the same function as a $5,000 instrument called an autorefractor used by eye doctors. The Netra-G looks like toy binoculars that connect to a mobile phone. Using the Netra-G app, the gadget is able to measure the refractive error of the eye, resulting in a prescription for eye glasses or contact lenses. Talk about disruptive technologies!When Smartphones Do a Doctor’s Job [Technology Review]
  • The United Kingdom now has a Massively Open Online Course platform of its own called FutureLearn. Developed by the UK’s Open University, FutureLearn currently offers 20 courses, with many more coming from 21 UK universities, plus Trinity College Dublin and Monash University in Australia. FutureLearn courses are available for anyone in the world to take for free. The FutureLearn platform is cross-platform and can be utilized on PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. It has a “rich social architecture” which makes it easy for students to discuss class topics and help each other with problems. Check it out at www.futurelearn.com.UK enters global online university race [BBC]
  • Getting through security at the airport might soon become faster, smoother and more secure thanks to Google Glass. The airport industry IT group SITA has developed applications for Google Glass that will automate the task of comparing photo IDs, boarding passes, and passenger faces to clear passengers more quickly and detect terrorists more accurately.How can airports and airlines use wearable technology to enhance the passenger experience? [Future Travel Experience]
  • Google is working on new technology that could do away with third-party cookies, the data packets deposited on your computer that allow advertisers to track your online activities. Google’s anonymous identifier for advertising, or AdID, would replace third-party cookies providing advertisers with anonymous data. The goal is to improve users’ privacy while ensuring the Web remains economically viable.Google May Ditch Cookies as Online Ad Tracker [NewsFactor]

and in Information Security news this week…

  • The new iPhone S has been out less than a week, and already there is a contest to hack its revolutionary fingerprint-based security system. Apple has billed Touch ID as an innovative way to securely unlock your iPhone with the touch of a finger. Built into the home button, Touch ID uses a laser cut sapphire crystal, together with the capacitive touch sensor, to take a high-resolution image of your fingerprint and intelligently analyze it to provide accurate readings from any angle. All of this happens right on the device so that fingerprint data is kept private. The person or team that can circumvent the new biometric system will win a prize package that includes $10,000 from venture capital firm IO Capital.Hacking Contest Targets Apple Touch ID [NewsFactor]
  • A hacker disguised as a maintenance engineer, attempted to install a rogue piece of hardware onto a computer at a London branch of the Spanish bank Santander. If successful, the trick would have provided a hacker group with access to millions. 12 suspects have been arrested.Bank Hacking Plot Shows New Cybercrime Potential [NewsFactor]
  • Microsoft is officially investigating public reports of a vulnerability and admits it is aware of targeted attacks that attempt to exploit the zero-day flaw in Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9. The company has released a workaround known to prevent hackers from exploiting the software.Microsoft Pushes Workaround for IE Emergency [NewsFactor]
  • In this age of corporate cyberspies and government snoops, several start-up companies are betting that you will be interested in protecting your communications with strong encryption. Wickr, a free app that encrypts text, voice and video messages, leaves no trace of your cybermusings on servers or on the device. Start-ups Silent Circle, Koolspan and Seecrypt offer systems that use encryption to lock down cellphone calls and e-mails.Tech Startups Predict Encryptions To Go Mainstream [NewsFactor]

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Google is now offering its Quickoffice app for free. Quickoffice, which was acquired by Google a year ago, allows users to view, create or edit Microsoft Office Excel, Word and PowerPoint files on an iPhone, iPad or Android phone or tablet. The move is likely to cause some unrest at Microsoft.Google Offers Quickoffice for Free [NewsFactor]
  • Microsoft has made enhancements to Bing that include an updated look for the homepage, new functionalities and an increased emphasis on Bing as a platform rather than just results from a search box.Bing Search Engine Gets a Modern Makeover [NewsFactor]

and finally…

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